Balerion the Black Dread (2023)

Balerion, called the Black Dread, was a dragon of House Targaryen. He was ridden by King Aegon I Targaryen during the Conquest, alongside his sister Queen Visenya's Vhagar, and his sister Queen Rhaenys's Meraxes. Other known riders of Balerion were Lady Visarra Targaryen, Lord Baelon Targaryen, King Maegor I Targaryen, Princess Aerea Targaryen and Prince Viserys Targaryen.

Balerion died of old age in 94 AC during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, aged two hundred and sixteen years old.


  • 1 Appearance
  • 2 History
    • 2.1 Lady Visarra
    • 2.2 Baelon Targaryen
    • 2.3 Aegon the Conqueror
    • 2.4 Maegor the Cruel
    • 2.5 Princess Aerea
    • 2.6 Further life
    • 2.7 Legacy


Balerion's scales and wings were black. His fire was black, sometimes with swirls of red. When he was in the fullness of his power, his flames could melt steel and stone, and fuse sand into glass.

Balerion was the largest of all the Targaryen dragons since Aegon's Conquest until Neferion. His wingspan was so large that his shadow could engulf entire towns when he passed overhead. His teeth were as long as bastard swords, and his jaws were large enough to swallow an aurochs whole, or even one of the hairy mammoths that are said to roam the cold wastes beyond the Port of Ibben. By 93 AC, Balerion had finally stopped growing. He had grown sluggish and heavy and was difficult to rouse. When Prince Viserys Targaryen claimed the dragon that year, the dragon struggled to take to the air. Prince Viserys believed the dragon no longer had the strength to fly from King's Landing to Dragonstone.

(Video) Balerion The Black Dread Dragon Origin – Greatest Targaryen Dragon In House Of The Dragon's History

Balerion was willful, and not a beast to trifle with.


Lady Visarra

Balerion was born in 122 BC in Valyria from a dragon egg owned by Visarra Targaryen. He was named after an ancient god of the Valyrian Freehold.

Visarra's parents both died before her fifth nameday, placing her in the care of her father's brother, Aenar. When Aenar Targaryen fled to Dragonstone in order to escape the Doom of Valyria, Visarra accompanied him. Visarra took Balerion with her, being the youngest of the five dragons taken with House Targaryen. After the four older dragons died during the Century of Blood, Balerion became the last creature to have seen the Freehold in its prime.

Visarra toured the Free Cities atop Balerion in celebration of her sixteenth nameday. She was hosted by the Prince of Pentos, Jaerys Orlyris, during her stay in Pentos. It was widely believed that Jaerys intended to propose marriage to Visarra. Though it was also whispered that Jaerys desired a dragon and saw Visarra as a means to an end. Balerion was young but growing larger every year, and the prince marvelled at the very sight of him.

Though Visarra seemed quite taken with Jaerys, she left Pentos atop Balerion and returned to Dragonstone at the request of Lord Aenar. Visarra married Aenar just a fortnight before her eighteenth nameday. Balerion was seen flying around Dragonstone at the celebration feast.

Balerion lit Lord Aenar's funeral pyre in 101 BC at Visarra's command. He later lit Visarra's funeral pyre in 76 BC. It was said Balerion let out a loud roar that shook the foundations of Dragonstone as Visarra took her last breath.

After Visarra's death, her son Visenys attempted to claim Balerion. Though Visenys was not successful in claiming Balerion, he did receive wounds and burns that afflicted him for the rest of his life.

(Video) Targaryen Dragons: Balerion The Black Dread

Baelon Targaryen

Ultimately, Balerion was claimed by Visarra's grandson, Baelon, in 63 AC. Baelon was only ten and the second son of Lord Aerys Targaryen and Lady Saera Targaryen (Visarra's second daughter).

By the time Baelon claimed Balerion, Balerion was the oldest and largest dragon living at Dragonstone, having outlived the other four dragons brought to Westeros by the Targaryens.

In 57 BC, Baelon mounted Balerion and travelled to Lys where he met Lysaria Orthys, a young Lyseni noblewoman from a family claiming descent from Valyria. The two returned to Dragonstone just a year later atop Balerion and were married shortly thereafter.

Balerion was the first one to know of Lysaria's pregnancy in 56 BC, finally allowing her around him without growling at her or scaring her away. Baelon's child, Aenora, was born later that same year. The following year, after Aenora's first nameday, Baelon took her to fly upon Balerion, as her dragon egg had not yet hatched.

Baelon's health began taking a turn for the worst in late 54 BC, leaving him unable to ride Balerion by the beginning of the following year. Balerion made his lair in the Dragonmont during that time, only leaving his lair to hunt in the beach. Baelon soon died, leaving Balerion riderless.

Aegon the Conqueror

Balerion was eventually claimed by Lord Aegon Targaryen, some time before he married his sisters Visenya and Rhaenys. Aegon became involved in the wars in the Disputed Lands when Pentos and Tyrosh approached him, inviting him to join a grand alliance against Volantis, and he chose to heed their call. Mounting Balerion, he flew east to meet the Prince of Pentos and the magisters of the Free City, then flew to Lys in time to set ablaze a Volantene fleet trying to take the city.Balerion and workers help forge the Iron Throne, as depicted by Donato Giancola.Afterwards, Aegon turned his attention to conquering the Seven Kingdoms, during which he flew on Balerion. Aegon descended on Lords Mooton and Darklyn, killing both of them during Aegon's first test. After the ironborn victory at the Wailing Willows, Balerion burned the victors on the Gods Eye. Next, Aegon took Balerion to Harrenhal, where Harren Hoare, King of the Isles and the Rivers, had taken refuge in his formidable fortress. When Harren the Black had not yielded by sunset, Aegon took Balerion high up and descended inside the castle walls, putting the new castle to flame. Balerion's dragonfire burned so hot that the towers of Harrenhal went up like candles, melting and twisting into the shapes they retain to this day. King Harren and his remaining sons all perished, ending the line of House Hoare. The men of Crackclaw Point quickly surrendered to Visenya after learning of the burning of Harrenhal.

Aegon next rode Balerion in the Field of Fire, besides his sisters on Vhagar and Meraxes. Between the three dragons, four thousand men were burned to death, including Mern IX Gardener, King of the Reach, resulting in Targaryen victory. When Aegon learned that Torrhen Stark, King in the North, had crossed the Neck and was leading an army into the riverlands, he raced ahead of his army on Balerion to meet the threat. When the Targaryen host was encamped at one side of the Trident and the northern host on the other side, Torrhen's bastard brother, Brandon Snow, offered to assassinate the sleeping dragons. Recalling the destruction the three dragons had caused at the Field of Fire, Torrhen instead submitted to Aegon. After Aegon was crowned by the High Septon, he was cheered by tens of thousands of onlookers as he flew on Balerion through the streets of Oldtown.

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According to song, at the end of the war Balerion helped to forge the Iron Throne by melting the swords of Aegon's fallen enemies. In 2 AC, Aegon flew his dragon to the Iron Islands to end the succession struggle among the ironborn.

Aegon flew Balerion during the First Dornish War, finding Sunspear abandoned when he arrived. Dorne rose in rebellion after he departed, however, and Lord Orys Baratheon was mutilated by the Wyl of Wyl. Aegon retaliated by burning several of House Wyl's keeps, and the king later attacked Sandstone, Vaith, and the Hellholt with the aid of Visenya. Aegon burned Skyreach after House Fowlerattacked Nightsong. During the two years of the Dragon's Wroth following the death of Rhaenys Targaryen, each Dornish castle (with the exception of Sunspear) was burned multiple times by the vengeful Aegon and Visenya.

King Aegon made frequent royal progresses throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Besides allowing the new monarch to learn more about his subjects, the sight of Balerion during these visits also helped to prevent rebellion.

Maegor the Cruel

King Maegor I Targaryen and Balerion burn the Sept of Remembrance, by Jordi Gonzalez for The World of Ice & Fire.

After the death of King Aegon I Targaryen, Balerion was claimed by his younger son, Prince Maegor, who had long coveted his father's mount, and had not claimed another dragon because he considered all others unworthy. After Jonos Arryn imprisoned his brother Ronnel, Lord of the Eyrie, and declared himself independent of the Iron Throne, Maegor rode the Black Dread to the Vale of Arryn and put down his rebellion.

When Maegor was exiled to Pentos as punishment for his polygamous marriage, he took Balerion with him. After the death of his elder brother, King Aenys I, Maegor flew back to Westeros on Balerion to claim the Iron Throne.

During the Faith Militant uprising, King Maegor used Balerion in the burning of the Sept of Remembrance and in the battle at the Great Fork of the Blackwater Rush. In the westerlands, the king burned the seats of Houses Broome, Doggett, Falwell, and Lorch. Maegor threatened to attack Oldtown as well, but the city opened its gates to the king after the unexpected death of the High Septon.

(Video) Vhagar's Size compared to Smaug and Drogon

In the Battle Beneath the Gods Eye, Maegor used Balerion to kill his nephew Prince Aegon and his dragon Quicksilver.After the completion of the Red Keep, Maegor began construction of the Dragonpit to house Balerion, Vhagar, and other dragons.

After Maegor's death, Balerion returned to Dragonstone.

Princess Aerea

In late 54 AC, Princess Aerea Targaryen claimed Balerion from the yard of Dragonstone one morning. They disappeared and went missing for more than a year. King Jaehaerys I Targaryen sent expeditions to try and locate Balerion and the young princess, and the master of coin, Rego Draz, offered a reward for any information on their whereabouts, but none came forward that were credible. Balerion was the largest living dragon in the world, but there were no sightings of the dragon anywhere. Septon Barthbelieved that the lack of sightings suggested that Balerion was no longer in Westeros. Rhaena Targaryen departed on Dreamfyre to search for Balerion and her missing daughter.

Balerion returned to King's Landing in 56 AC, descending into the courtyard of the Red Keep with Aerea barely clinging to him. The princess was severely ill, and died soon after. Barth's accounts describe wounds and half-healed scars on Balerion. The dragon bore a huge jagged rent down his left side, almost nine feet long, and fresh blood still dripped from the wound, hot and smoking. Barth speculated that, when Aerea claimed Balerion, she was unable to bend the dragon to her will, and instead the dragon had taken her to the place he had been born, Valyria. Shortly thereafter, Balerion became the first dragon to be housed in the Dragonpit, where he was guarded by the Dragonkeepers.

Further life

Prince Baelon Targaryen smacked Balerion on his snout the first time the boy entered the Dragonpit. When Princess Alyssa Targaryen came to the Dragonpit to claim a dragon of her own in 75 AC, the Dragonkeepers persuaded her not to try and claim Balerion, insisting that the dragon had become old and slow, suggesting to her that she would much more prefer a faster dragon.

The last rider of Balerion was Prince Viserys Targaryen, who entered the Dragonpit to claim the dragon in 93 AC. Balerion was hard to rouse, and struggled when Viserys urged him into the sky. They flew around King's Landing three times, although Viserys later confided to his father that he had originally intended to fly Balerion to Dragonstone. However, fearing the dragon lacked the strength to do so, Viserys had opted otherwise.

Balerion died in 94 AC, less than a year after Viserys claimed him as his mount.

(Video) The Valyrian Dragons Bigger Than Balerion & Vhagar


Princess Rhaenys Targaryen named her black kitten after Balerion, and the girl often pretended that her cat was actually the Black Dread.

Along with eighteen other Targaryen dragon skulls, Balerion's skull hung on a wall in the Red Keep's throne room. After Robert's Rebellion, King Robert I Baratheonhad the skulls removed from the throne room and stored them in a dank cellar. In 284 AC, when Tyrion Lannistervisited the capital for the wedding of his sister Cersei to Robert, he observed the skulls in the cellar, including Balerion's.

There is a picture of Balerion the Black Dread, done in colored inks, in the book Dragonkin, Being a History of House Targaryen from Exile to Apotheosis, with a Consideration of the Life and Death of Dragons, written by MaesterThomax.


Balerion the Black Dread? ›

Balerion, called the Black Dread, was a dragon of House Targaryen

House Targaryen
House Targaryen of Dragonstone is a noble family of Valyrian descent who once ruled the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The Targaryen sigil is a three-headed dragon breathing flames, red on black. The house words are "Fire and Blood". › index.php › House_Targaryen
. He was ridden by King Aegon I Targaryen
Aegon I Targaryen
Aegon I Targaryen, also known as Aegon the Conqueror and Aegon the Dragon, was the first Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and king on the Iron Throne, having conquered six of the Seven Kingdoms during the Conquest. The dragonlord was the founder of the ruling Targaryen dynasty of Westeros. › index.php › Aegon_I_Targaryen
during the Conquest, alongside his sister Queen Visenya's Vhagar, and his sister Queen Rhaenys's Meraxes.

Was Balerion the biggest dragon ever? ›

Balerion was the greatest Targaryen dragon who ever lived, the largest since the fall of Valyria. Dragons keep growing for their entire lives, meaning that Balerion was even larger during the Faith Militant uprising. Only Vhagar ever managed to approach Balerion in size, but only many years after his death.

Was Balerion the dread bigger than Drogon? ›

Drogon is much bigger than his brothers. This could be genetics or his mystical connection to Balerion, but the winged shadow also had advantages that his siblings did not.

How powerful was Balerion the Black Dread? ›

He was so powerful that his flames could melt steel and stone, as well as fuse sand into glass. His teeth were as long as swords and his jaws were large enough to swallow a hairy mammoth. Balerion was willful and "not a beast to play with" according to the Wiki of Ice and Fire.

Is Balerion Drogon's father? ›

Drogon is believed to be the reincarnation of Balerion the Black Dread, but Daenerys decides to give him a new name for his new life.

How was Balerion killed? ›

Balerion died of old age in 94 AC during the reign of King Jaehaerys I Targaryen, around two hundred years old.

Is the cannibal older than Balerion? ›

Balerion died of old age in 94 AC, at the age of at least 208 years, meaning that by 129 AC the Cannibal would need to be at least 35 years older than that.

Who is stronger Smaug or Balerion? ›

Smaug is still a huge and devastating beast, especially compared to little Bilbo Baggins, but Balerion's height comes out victorious. However, Smaug was far from the largest Dragon in Middle-earth, as some are said to be as big as a mountain.

Which dragon can beat Balerion? ›

In House of the Dragon S1E2, Viserys claims that Vhagar has grown too large for the Dragonpit. That would mean Vhagar actually outgrew Balerion — because even Balerion still fit in the Dragonpit right before his death in 94 AC.

Who would win Smaug vs Balerion? ›

Balerion is both bigger and stronger than Smaug. Balerion is the oldest, biggest, and strongest Targaryen dragon in recorded history- thus bigger and stronger than Smaug. Smaug's true size was never explicitly said, but his wingspan couldn't even throw a shadow over the whole Lake-town.

Who is the strongest Targaryen? ›

Aegon I is the pinnacle of Targaryen greatness. His name is mentioned so often across the course of the show that book-averters and die-hard fans alike can both recite his history. He is the reason that the Seven Kingdoms exist as we know them. He is the legendary rider of the largest dragon, Balerion the Black Dread.

Is cannibal stronger than Balerion? ›

The Cannibal was most likely tied with Balerion or bigger than him no matter the circumstances of his birth at the end of his life. Mainly because after the dance of the dragons he had no competition and nothing would have stopped him from dying of old age like the black dread.

Did Balerion breathe black fire? ›

Aegon the Conqueror rode Balerion when he mounted his conquest of the Seven Kingdoms, while his sister-wives Visenya and Rhaenys rode the dragons Vhagar and Meraxes, respectively. Balerion's scales and wings were black, as was the fire he breathed.

Whose egg was Drogon? ›

Known dragon eggs
King Aegon V Targaryen's seven eggsKing Aegon V Targaryen
King Euron Greyjoy's eggKing Euron Greyjoy
{Drogon's egg}Princess Daenerys Targaryen
{Rhaegal's egg}Princess Daenerys Targaryen
27 more rows

Which dragon gave birth to Drogon? ›

If this is true, then Daenerys's dragons—Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion—were descended from Dreamfyre, who is the only adult female dragon noted in the book to have laid eggs. She died during the Targaryen civil war known as the Dance of Dragons.

What breed of dragon is Balerion? ›

Balerion the Black Dread

The largest and eldest of all the Targaryen dragons, Balerion was flown by Aegon the Conqueror and later became the steed of King Viserys I.

Who was the last Targaryen to ride Balerion? ›

Viserys is a dragon rider. He was the last person to ride the dragon Balerion, known as The Black Dread. Balerion was the dragon ridden by Aegon The Conqueror during the Targaryen conquest of Westeros.

Will Balerion be in god? ›

But unlike many of the other dragons in the book, he lives out a long life, dying of old age during the reign of Jaehaerys I long before the civil war. But Balerion still appears in "House of the Dragon"; it's his skull that resides in the Red Keep, and many of the character walks by it.

Could balerion swallow a mammoth? ›

He was the largest of the three dragons, said to be the largest dragon ever. Each fang he possessed was longer than a sword and he could swallow a mammoth whole in one gulp.

Who rode Balerion first? ›

He was ridden by Aegon the Conqueror when he set out to take over Westeros. His flaming breath melted the swords of the conquered into the Iron Throne. He was an instrument of destruction during the reign of Maegor the Cruel, and was last ridden by Viserys I Targaryen, played in House of the Dragon by Paddy Considine.

Is there bigger dragon than Balerion? ›

During the time of House of the Dragon, Vhagar is thought to be the largest dragon in the world, given Balerion's death around seven years before the events of the series, which is touched upon with the Game of Thrones prequel show itself.

Was Vhagar alive when Balerion was? ›

After the death of Balerion of old age in 94 AC, Vhagar became the last of the three Targaryen dragons who had fought in the Conquest.

Can Drogon surpass Balerion? ›

Drogon might be faster than balerion, but if balerion can make any sort of physical contact with Drogon he would be torn apart (see the dance of dragons civil war).

Why wasn t Balerion in House of the Dragon? ›

Here's a rundown of the dragons you can expect to see in House of the Dragon. Sadly, Balerion, the mighty dragon ridden by Aegon the Conqueror, likely won't be appearing unless there are flashbacks to Viserys's youth, as he died during Jaehaerys I's reign.

Who are the strongest dragons in Tolkien? ›

Ancalagon the Black

He was one of Morgoth's most powerful servants, the mightiest of all dragons, and the first of the winged "fire-drakes". He arose like a storm from the pits of Angband beneath the Iron Mountains, as a last defence of the realm of Dor Daedeloth.

Which dragon killed by vhagar? ›

Vhagar, almost two centuries old and the strongest dragon alive, took a fatal bite out of Arrax, killing him and his young rider Prince Lucerys "Luke" Velaryon (Elliot Grihault).

Who is the largest dragon in the Targaryens? ›

Known as "The Black Dread," Balerion was the biggest of the Targaryen dragons and is one of the largest dragons in all of Game of Thrones, if not the entire fantasy genre in general. Balerion's name has withstood history in Westeros, with even those in the age after the dragons died remembering this mighty creature.

What is the biggest strongest dragon in Game of Thrones? ›

1. Caraxes. Caraxes the Blood Wyrm is ridden by Prince Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith), brother of King Viserys. Caraxes is described as a "formidable huge blood-red " dragon who is "fearsome and battle savvy".

Is there any dragon bigger than Balerion? ›

During the time of House of the Dragon, Vhagar is thought to be the largest dragon in the world, given Balerion's death around seven years before the events of the series, which is touched upon with the Game of Thrones prequel show itself.

Which wild dragon is bigger than Balerion? ›

Vhagar. Born on Dragonstone before Aegon conquered Westeros, Vhagar is the largest dragon alive and is about 181 years old. During House of the Dragon, she is thought to be around the size Balerion was during Aegon's Conquest, giving a decisive advantage to any army.

Which dragon was stronger than Balerion? ›

The only other dragon that ever came close to his strength and size was Vhagar, and it was years after Balerion had already died.

What is the largest dragon in the world? ›

The Komodo dragon is the largest living lizard in the world. These wild dragons typically weigh about 154 pounds (70 kilograms), but the largest verified specimen reached a length of 10.3 feet (3.13 meters) and weighed 366 pounds (166 kilograms).


1. BALERION - Origin, Death and Significance Explained
(Factholic Pop)
2. Aegon Targaryen meets Drogon
(Ettore Olivieri)
3. King Viserys Targaryen & Balerion (House of the Dragon)
4. Qyburn and Cersei visit Balerion’s skull [7x02]
(Cersei Lannister)
5. Aerea Targaryen: The Most Horrifying Tragedy in Game of Thrones History
(Crusader Chris)
6. Is Drogon as Big as Balerion?


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